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Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students

 

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bart  (F 670)

Aug 26, 2011, 9:29 AM
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Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students Can't Post

There has been some discussion on another threads about the use off audibles for students, I would also like to expand that to some discussion also on the use of digital altimeters as well.

Recently the DZ that I have been training AFF at has introduced them. Along with Digital Altimeters. The focus of this change was parachute control and not free fall.

This season in about a 4 month period we have had 149 students through the door 113 of them finishing the AFF course. So where pretty busy. Where we are we have no TA. Its how its done here, and I would like to add they spend a good deal of the coure focusing on parachute control!! However I must say that when I first started here a few years ago it scared me to death!! but actually it works quite well. However students do become focused on there altimeter in the landing pattern, for there 900, 600, 300 and this is not such a great thing with an analog alti which is hard to read and inacurrate under 1000 feet anyway. This year read an article about the use of audibles under canopy for students. After much discussion between instructors, we applied to the Federation for approval which was granted. We then used the system both Digital altimeters and Audibles with our last 2 groups of students, which was 22 students.

All our fears so far have been unfounded in fact we are struggling to find any negatives that have come out of the change. No one young or old has had trouble reading the Altimeter in Free fall or under canopy, or been confused by the audible.

With the back up of a digital altimeter at a glance its easy for the students to see the beeps are coming at the exact hight they are suppose to turn. This then allows them to focus on the landing visually. Which is how they should be doing it. Its not about relying on the device but rather using a tool that helps the student to learn the visual ques. There has been an amazing improvment in the speed at which these guys are learning parachute control. It's still early days, but as I said the results have been awesome.

As for free fall the audible is set at the hard deck, which means they should never here it!!! If they do then they now they need to open immediately no matter there body position. The federation made this a stipulation and I agree I think that Its important for student to read there altimeter before begining to rely on other devices.

I would defineatly encourage other schools to have a look at the concept. As I said its early days but our results are very encouraging.

Have any other instructors out there been using digital altimeters and or audibles for AFF student?

What was the motivation for using these devices?

Has anyone had any negative out comes due to the use of this equipment?

What are the positives that have been observed from the use of this equipment?

blue ones

bart


nigel99  (D 1)

Aug 26, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Bart,

I am not certain that I can explain this clearly but I will try.

I was taught to use reference points rather than altitudes for my landing pattern. The point being that if the winds are quite brisk a student may go deep downwind to reach their 600 foot turn altitude and then not make it back. At my dz this can put you in the trees.

I realise this is regardless of digital or analog altimeters.

Another point to consider is that while digital readouts are good for accuracy (of the reading) they are not conducive to reading as quickly. In instrumentation and control generally analog dials are used where the user needs to quickly ascertain critical information. I will try and find some studies to back this up but I believe you will comprehend a needle in the red quicker than you would interpret 2000 foot.

edited to add. Not a definitive study but it backs up what I was taught http://www.raizlabs.com/...log-vs-digital-dials


(This post was edited by nigel99 on Aug 26, 2011, 10:04 AM)


skydiver604

Aug 26, 2011, 10:23 AM
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

The dz I did my progression at discourages students from using audibles until they've completed at least 100 jumps. This is to ensure students have altitude awareness entrenched in their brain. During freefall progression a student will fail a jump if the instructor does not see the student checking his altimeter to ensure altitude awareness is maintained. My instructors also discouraged altimeter use in the pattern once you were established on the downwind leg. We were taught at about 1000 ft set up your down wind leg, once the downwind leg was set up we were required to make our turns onto base and final based on other traffic in the pattern, wind speed and direction and any obstacles such as wind socks / blades and our position relative to the landing area. The 900 600 and 300 ft altitudes are used as learning tool for what the pattern should look like to be able to land safely my instructor stressed that the other factors mentioned above actually determine when you turn onto base and final and what height you make your turns. I can honestly say that I very rarely check my altimeter once my circuit pattern is set up, instead I focus on avoiding canopy collisions, wind speed and direction and set up final to ensure I land safely.

Just my 2 cents.


(This post was edited by skydiver604 on Aug 26, 2011, 10:32 AM)


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 26, 2011, 1:46 PM
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

Using an audible for canopy control is the absolute worst idea I have heard in my 26 years of skydiving. My God, people - we are already running into each other with unprecedented frequency and now we're going to make the ride down even more complicated?

I recently read a "safety" article on this website written by canopy "expert" Brian Germain in which he advocates using audibles for canopy control, and he is dead wrong when he says it makes canopy control safer. Adding canopy audibles, especially on young jumpers, does nothing more than distract from the real task at hand and results in jumpers becoming more reliant on a gizmo and less on developing the "keen eye" of a highly skilled skydiver. Has no one noticed that the more we try to solve our canopy problems with rules, procedures and layers of processes, the more we run into each other? The simplest answer is almost always the best one, yet some continue to operate from the position that if there's a problem they can fix it by adding something new to the puzzle.

Altitude check points for canopy control should be minimal. Students should be taught early on to NOT rely on an altimeter for the canopy flight. It makes no difference whatsoever if a jumper enters a pattern at 800 feet, 1000 feet, or 1200 feet, turns to a base leg at 400 feet, 500 feet, or 600 feet, or turns to final at 500, 300, or even 100 feet. What matters is that they land safely, and attempting to fly the pattern with specified turn positions and altitudes on every jump regardless of traffic considerations, wind speed and direction, and deployment position relative to the landing area is not only logistically unfeasible, attempting to do so takes the jumper's attention in the wrong direction.

Unlike powered aircraft that can enter and fly patterns nearly identically on every flight, skydivers more often than not enter the pattern - if you want to call it that - from different positions and altitudes on almost every jump to some degree, often radically different from jump to jump. That fact often dictates that the jumper fly a pattern that is other than what some insist on calling "standard".

Teach jumpers to see glide angles and perceive forward penetration - all while flying well ahead of themselves and avoiding traffic. Teach them that pattern altitudes are estimates and that no two flights are the same. Teach them how to deal with the puzzle they get after each deployment.

This ain't rocket science, folks. Get your damn faces and ears out of your instruments and fly your canopies.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Aug 26, 2011, 2:07 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

+10


tw9828  (D 9828)

Aug 26, 2011, 2:09 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

+11 Cool


bart  (F 670)

Aug 26, 2011, 2:13 PM
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Re: [nigel99] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hi Bart,

I am not certain that I can explain this clearly but I will try.

I was taught to use reference points rather than altitudes for my landing pattern. The point being that if the winds are quite brisk a student may go deep downwind to reach their 600 foot turn altitude and then not make it back. At my dz this can put you in the trees.

I realise this is regardless of digital or analog altimeters.

Another point to consider is that while digital readouts are good for accuracy (of the reading) they are not conducive to reading as quickly. In instrumentation and control generally analog dials are used where the user needs to quickly ascertain critical information. I will try and find some studies to back this up but I believe you will comprehend a needle in the red quicker than you would interpret 2000 foot.

edited to add. Not a definitive study but it backs up what I was taught http://www.raizlabs.com/...log-vs-digital-dials

This was definately a big concern for us when we implemented the program. However no one has had any problems reading the digital, Im not saying this will never be the case but It hasn't happened. We are able to replay a jump for them so they can drill on the ground reading the instrument.

As far as the reference points go I don't think there is ever need for any student to ever fly past the back of the landing area, and thats how we brief our students.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Aug 26, 2011, 2:17 PM
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Re: [nigel99] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The point being that if the winds are quite brisk a student may go deep downwind to reach their 600 foot turn altitude and then not make it back. At my dz this can put you in the trees.
Correcto mundo. But some don't realize these things and some just plain refuse to consider it. Welcome to the ego-driven world of skydiving. It's by-the-numbers and all else be damned.


In reply to:
Another point to consider is that while digital readouts are good for accuracy (of the reading) they are not conducive to reading as quickly. In instrumentation and control generally analog dials are used where the user needs to quickly ascertain critical information.

But...but....digital is sooooooo cool! We live in a digital world!
"Who cares what studies have been done, I'm different!"

I like to know who are the ones staring at altimeters in the pattern. It helps me to know which ones aren't paying attention at critical times and helps with avoiding them.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Aug 26, 2011, 2:25 PM
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
.... I don't think there is ever need for any student to ever fly past the back of the landing area, and thats how we brief our students.

So, great. You're teaching them how to land and at ONE DZ. As long as they stay at home they're good to go. The ground reference can be used anytime, anywhere. You go to 600ft for base at some places, in some wind conditions, you'll be hosed.


(This post was edited by popsjumper on Aug 26, 2011, 2:25 PM)


PiLFy  (A License)

Aug 26, 2011, 2:49 PM
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in my mid-Forties. So, I grew up in an analog environment. My brain prefers an analog wrist Alti. I instantly recognize my alt. w/no extra thinking required. However, a lot of younger jumpers grew up in a digital world. They recognize the digital readouts instantly. There is zero transposition involved for them.

I was trained to use a combination of alt., reference points, winds, & obstacles for my landing patterns. Students can't tell 2K' from 1K'. As I said in the other thread, a school Alti malfunctioned (though not obviously) on me, once. A backup audible would have prevented a dangerous, almost in the trees, landing. Some are saying canopy alarms would be a further distraction. Stressing out over whether or not your beat up school Alti will fail is a pretty big distraction, too.

Even if some would argue against canopy alarms. If you approve of AAD use? You should approve of audible use for setting a hard deck. It's the same thing. If a student who was supposed to pull @5.5K', is still in freefall @2K'? It has already gone very wrong. Do you want to hope the AAD fires...completely cuts the closing loop...the reserve doesn't hesitate...& they open over an obstacle-free landing area? Or, would you rather give them an extra 1K'-1500' to pull silver higher, & increase their odds dramatically?


bart  (F 670)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:14 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

The whole Idea Chuck was not to create an Idea where the student just turns on the beeps. Thats not the way we brief or train our students. When I first started I was trained on a radio, and back then on the S/L table I had no altimeter. I think the second 10 second delay was used to introduce instruments. By that stage I was well and truly landing on my own and never used an altimeter under canopy. The voice in my ear was able to correct me when going in the wrong place and that left me able to scan for traffic and be more aware under canopy, more importantly it allowed me to understand canopy flight visually. Which is the most important thing so I'm glad we agree on something!!

Here we have no TA, we have no radios, our student spend a considerable amount of time being trained to understand how to fly there canopy. Much more than I ever was. The trouble is how does someone who has never been up in the air know when they should leave there holding area, when they should be doing there final turn etc. How do they know what 1000 feet looks like or 500 or 300?? What happens is they just start looking at there altimeter and we needed to take that focus away. What we want is for them to learn were they should fly visually. The audible just gives them some information to help train there eyes. It gives them Information about how high they are without them looking at there alti. Its as simple as that. Thats the way we approach it here rather than turn turn turn, that would be stupid. I know after they have finished the AFF program I can take the audible off them and they would fly there pattern the same as with it because they have had the oportunity to learn what different heights look like. The device actually allows them to be more aware under canopy judging the winds and flying visually looking out for traffic. While still receiving information about there height and decent rate audibly. We have found its adds to the training rather than being a distraction.

All our students receive debriefing and briefing for all the canopy flights and we have noticed that we are correcting the way they are flying less than we were without it.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:21 PM
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Re: [PiLFy] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
.....a school Alti malfunctioned (though not obviously) on me, once. A backup audible would have prevented a dangerous, almost in the trees, landing.

In that scenario, using your altimeter is what got you into trouble in the first place. Altitude doesn't matter for the purposes of accuracy, glide angles do.


bart  (F 670)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:25 PM
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Re: [popsjumper] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I like to know who are the ones staring at altimeters in the pattern. It helps me to know which ones aren't paying attention at critical times and helps with avoiding them.
Exactly why the audible, while still giving the information about hieght to the student while there new to canopy flight allows them to look around for you!!


PiLFy  (A License)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:26 PM
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Re: [popsjumper] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

No, he's teaching them a principle. One they can apply @any DZ. Not flying over any obstacles you don't want to land on @<1K' is a lesson they can take anywhere.


bart  (F 670)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:30 PM
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Re: [popsjumper] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
.... I don't think there is ever need for any student to ever fly past the back of the landing area, and thats how we brief our students.

So, great. You're teaching them how to land and at ONE DZ. As long as they stay at home they're good to go. The ground reference can be used anytime, anywhere. You go to 600ft for base at some places, in some wind conditions, you'll be hosed.

Actually pops we see that as quite the opposite. The back of the landing area is actually just the down wind side, so it actually applys to either end which in turn translates to any landing field for any wind conditions. I'm actually at a loss as to how you could come to that conclusion!! We train our students to be able to land anywhere because where we jump we do lots of off DZ jumping and in all the years I have been jumping I have never had to fly past the back of my landing area, (that's the down wind side just so you understand) on or off the DZ!!!, thats actually when you do get caught out!!


PiLFy  (A License)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:33 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
.....a school Alti malfunctioned (though not obviously) on me, once. A backup audible would have prevented a dangerous, almost in the trees, landing.

In that scenario, using your altimeter is what got you into trouble in the first place. Altitude doesn't matter for the purposes of accuracy, glide angles do.

??? No Chuck,
Using my beatup school Alti that hadn't obviously failed is what put me there. I was still a fledgling student @the time. Do you really think I could recognize glide angles @that level? I was going by my Alti. Had I heard contradicting beeps in my ear? I would have known something was wrong earlier, & aborted to a safer field.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:35 PM
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
....we have no radios...

Well that's just dumb. Get some dang radios and you won't have the problem to begin with.

Yes, I'm brilliant. That's why they put up with me.Wink


bart  (F 670)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:37 PM
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Re: [skydiver604] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The dz I did my progression at discourages students from using audibles until they've completed at least 100 jumps. This is to ensure students have altitude awareness entrenched in their brain. During freefall progression a student will fail a jump if the instructor does not see the student checking his altimeter to ensure altitude awareness is maintained. My instructors also discouraged altimeter use in the pattern once you were established on the downwind leg. We were taught at about 1000 ft set up your down wind leg, once the downwind leg was set up we were required to make our turns onto base and final based on other traffic in the pattern, wind speed and direction and any obstacles such as wind socks / blades and our position relative to the landing area. The 900 600 and 300 ft altitudes are used as learning tool for what the pattern should look like to be able to land safely my instructor stressed that the other factors mentioned above actually determine when you turn onto base and final and what height you make your turns. I can honestly say that I very rarely check my altimeter once my circuit pattern is set up, instead I focus on avoiding canopy collisions, wind speed and direction and set up final to ensure I land safely.

Just my 2 cents.

I totally agree that flying a parachute is something that needs to be learned visually. Im curious were you ever trainned on radios or another form of TA like an arrow?? We don't have any of these where we are. Our students are briefed to land and fly on visuals. We use the audible to give them some extra info about there height and decent rate so they can focus on learning to fly visually without using there altimeter. It allows them to see what the appropriate heights look like when they have never seen them before.


bart  (F 670)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:44 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
....we have no radios...

Well that's just dumb. Get some dang radios and you won't have the problem to begin with.

Yes, I'm brilliant. That's why they put up with me.Wink

No Chuck I disagree, as I have already said they are trained to fly on there own and that's what they do. When I first got here it scared me to death, but with the program we run from what I have seen in the last 4 years we don't need them either. Our students do a great job without the radio. We added the audible to give them some extra info, but it is just a guide. We thought we would try some new technology to see if it could help us train them better and our results are encouraging.Smile By the way whats a "dang" radio, I don't think they have those here anywayWinkWinkWink


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:45 PM
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Re: [PiLFy] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
.....a school Alti malfunctioned (though not obviously) on me, once. A backup audible would have prevented a dangerous, almost in the trees, landing.

In that scenario, using your altimeter is what got you into trouble in the first place. Altitude doesn't matter for the purposes of accuracy, glide angles do.

??? No Chuck,
Using my beatup school Alti that hadn't obviously failed is what put me there. I was still a fledgling student @the time. Do you really think I could recognize glide angles @that level? I was going by my Alti. Had I heard contradicting beeps in my ear? I would have known something was wrong earlier, & aborted to a safer field.

Your DZ put you in the air with a beat up altimeter? Sounds like in addition to other things, you also picked the wrong DZ.

Beat up or not, it was your reliance on an instrument that put in that situation - at least according to you.Wink


pchapman  (D 1014)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:49 PM
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

 
1) Analog(ue) vs digital:

I'm not so sure the studies of analog vs digital, that say analog is better, really apply that much here. There are times when one is better, one where the other is better, depending on the accuracy and time involved. There are so many variables.

Plus, analog altis make it hard to see distinctions of a couple hundred feet. So an analog on the wrist is pretty tough to use IF one is trying to teach students about altitudes like 300 or 600 ft for turns. I think that kind of detail may be going too far, but at least it is a starting point for them to learn circuits.

Parachute circuits are largely about fitting in with other traffic, and managing one's landing spot, not about exact altitudes. In many things that people do, we can accept some "by the numbers" actions from a student, that later get adjusted in more complex ways.

2) Re: Telling a student to do their turns within a DZ's property

One comment was that "You're teaching them how to land and at ONE DZ." Quite right. And that's fine, as long as it is just a tool early on during their time as a student, to be moved away from later. That's where nice big overhead photos of the DZ are useful, as students have little idea how big typical circuits might be.

3) It has been said an audible under canopy can be a distraction for a student.
Yet radios for students aren't considered a distraction, even if radio calls are also some extra input to process. Both can add useful information at important times. (Radios can of course be misused too, and leave a student unable to plan their own circuit.)

4) With the new use of audibles with altitude beeps under canopy, one has to match that with the appropriate teaching, whatever that may be. That's where students have to learn principles of circuits, where the beeps are a reminder, not an order to crank 90 degree turns wherever they are.

So the new technology could be used well, or it could be used poorly. I don't know the best way to use audibles under canopy, but it is worth somebody learning to do so.

5) Questions:

I am curious how you deal with the problem of over-reliance on the beeps. A a turn to final may need to done at a given time, according to position and winds, even if the 300 ft beep (or whatever) has not gone off yet .

How do you integrate radio instruction with the beeps? The instructor won't know when to turn the student unless they've got a lot of experience.

[Edit: answered already by the time this got posted - no radios at that dz. That is a big change in how to look at things -- an audible seems like much less of a waste if there isn't someone on radio demonstrating a good pattern through his commands.]

How long are the audibles used? (How many jumps, or to some sort of Solo level some time after AFF, or?)
What do the students say about it, after they've finished using the audibles?


(This post was edited by pchapman on Aug 26, 2011, 4:03 PM)


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:54 PM
Post #22 of 176 (2777 views)
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I like to know who are the ones staring at altimeters in the pattern. It helps me to know which ones aren't paying attention at critical times and helps with avoiding them.

Exactly why the audible, while still giving the information about hieght to the student while there new to canopy flight allows them to look around for you!!
Lame. Students can be trained to not stare at an altimeter.


PiLFy  (A License)

Aug 26, 2011, 3:54 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

Students have weak skills, Chuck. I went w/what I thought was solid data. An Alti can look unblemished N shiny, & still fail. You want to write off my training DZ because one of their Altis failed???

I was there Chuck, not you. Had I heard the thousand foot beep in my ear when my Alti said 2K'? I'd have known something was wrong.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 26, 2011, 4:00 PM
Post #24 of 176 (2770 views)
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Re: [bart] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
The dz I did my progression at discourages students from using audibles until they've completed at least 100 jumps. This is to ensure students have altitude awareness entrenched in their brain. During freefall progression a student will fail a jump if the instructor does not see the student checking his altimeter to ensure altitude awareness is maintained. My instructors also discouraged altimeter use in the pattern once you were established on the downwind leg. We were taught at about 1000 ft set up your down wind leg, once the downwind leg was set up we were required to make our turns onto base and final based on other traffic in the pattern, wind speed and direction and any obstacles such as wind socks / blades and our position relative to the landing area. The 900 600 and 300 ft altitudes are used as learning tool for what the pattern should look like to be able to land safely my instructor stressed that the other factors mentioned above actually determine when you turn onto base and final and what height you make your turns. I can honestly say that I very rarely check my altimeter once my circuit pattern is set up, instead I focus on avoiding canopy collisions, wind speed and direction and set up final to ensure I land safely.

Just my 2 cents.

I totally agree that flying a parachute is something that needs to be learned visually. Im curious were you ever trainned on radios or another form of TA like an arrow?? We don't have any of these where we are. Our students are briefed to land and fly on visuals. We use the audible to give them some extra info about there height and decent rate so they can focus on learning to fly visually without using there altimeter. It allows them to see what the appropriate heights look like when they have never seen them before.

What the hell is up with you people? You're trying to tie and untied shoe with a motorized, remote-controlled, double-whizbang doodad.

Just get some damn radios, already. Geez.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 26, 2011, 4:07 PM
Post #25 of 176 (2772 views)
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Re: [PiLFy] Digital Altimeters and Audibles for students [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Students have weak skills, Chuck. I went w/what I thought was solid data. An Alti can look unblemished N shiny, & still fail. You want to write off my training DZ because one of their Altis failed???

I was there Chuck, not you. Had I heard the thousand foot beep in my ear when my Alti said 2K'? I'd have known something was wrong.

OK, so the alti was "beat up" when you needed that as your justification for audibles, but when I point out that learning at a DZ that put you out on a "beat up" alti might not have been a good idea, it's now not so beat up?

My friend, this is entertaining. Horribly scary when I think about it, but entertaining.


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